Archive for the ‘telecommunications’ Category

Access to Communications for all

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009

Without the ability to communicate, however much knowledge we have, we are isolated, unable to take part in the social, personal, economic and political interactions which make up so much of human life.

The ability to communicate is something that we take for granted.

Development of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) has opened up enormous opportunities for communication for most people and for many disabled people, but not for all.

Indeed, for some people, technological advance has actually made communication more difficult.

Two Examples:
When graphic user interfaces came in, blind people who used computers suddenly found that the new software was inaccessible to them.

Digital mobile and cordless phones were found to cause severe interference with hearing aids, something which had not been a problem with the analogue phones they replaced.
For some disabled people, the spontaneous two way communication which most telephone users take for granted is either impossible, or requires very expensive special equipment.

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For many people, particularly older or disabled people, telecommunications products and services are difficult to use.

The need to improve access to communications has been recognised for many years.
By looking at what has been done in the past, what is happening at present and to raise some questions as to how existing barriers and future problems might be tackled in the future.

In particular, to review regulations that have played in improving access to telecommunications and to consider to what extent regulation will be nedded in in future.
I plan to illustrate this by taking as an example communication for people who are unable to use two way voice telephony.